Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

Folk Songs

12 hours ago

For at least six hundred years, composers have been borrowing the melodies of folk songs and incorporating them into their compositions. And there’s a good reason: they’re good melodies; they’re melodies that have stood the test of time—that have never lost their hold on people. 


Mozart Flute Quartets

Jun 26, 2017

In a famous letter to his father, Mozart once wrote, “you know I become quite powerless whenever I am obliged to write for an instrument I cannot bear.” He was talking about the flute, and the occasion of the letter was a commission Mozart had received to write several flute concertos and quartets for flute and strings. In fairness to Mozart, neither the flutes nor the flutists of his day were terribly reliable, but it’s also possible that Mozart had just been procrastinating, and inventing an excuse to give his father. 


This 2007 Piano Jazz remembers one of the great innovators of the bebop style—pianist Duke Jordan (1922 – 2006). He's perhaps best known for his innovative work with Charlie Parker's legendary 1947 quintet, and he played with a number of other legends including Stan Getz, Coleman Hawkins, and Sonny Stitt. Jordan joined McPartland in 1980 for a session including duets on "Groovin' High" and his original "Jordu."

News Stations: Sat, Jul 01, 8 pm | Classical Station: Sun, Jul 02, 7 pm

Performers are always seeking the most effective and compelling ways to bring a composer’s musical ideas to life. I stress the plural, “ways,” because there’s never just one way. Some musicians sometimes forget this, unfortunately, but the best musicians, and the best teachers never do. When I was a graduate student, the string quartet I played in was working on a Bartók string quartet, and our faculty coach was Robert Mann, founder and first violinist of the Juilliard Quartet. 


When musicians and music scholars prepare performances of works by dead composers, they often get stuck in arguments over determining what the composers’ “original intent” was. And while I certainly recognize the importance of scholarly accuracy and authenticity, and of staying true to the composers’ wishes, I think that sometimes musicians forget that dead composers were once alive. 


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